EU suspends complaint against India’s duties

Geneva, July 16:

The European Union said today it was temporarily suspending its World Trade Organisation (WTO) complaint against India’s import duties on alcoholic drinks after India cut some of the tariffs.

The EU’s executive commission said in a statement its decision followed India’s July 5 announcement of cuts in import duties on beer

and spirits, just over two months after the WTO had set up a dispute settlement panel to rule on the European complaint.

“The EU welcomes the Indian decision to respond to EU pressure by repealing these discriminatory duties,” EU trade spokesman Peter Power said. “EU wines and spirits exporters deserve a level playing field in India. This decision brings us closer to that goal,” he added.

However, the EU indicated that it wanted to maintain pressure on India over some unresolved details for the coming months. The EU said it regretted a ‘reported’ simultaneous Indian decision to effectively raise the tax rate for higher-end wines, partly due to the difference between bound tariffs declared to the WTO and what is actually applied on the ground. “The EC will now continue to monitor the situation on the ground, to make sure that no new discriminations appear at state level.”